Tue, 26 Sep 2000

Riau elephants under threat

JAKARTA (JP): Amoi, a female adult elephant that died while being relocated from the Keritang forest to Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in Riau, undergoes an autopsy.

About 170 elephants found in the forest in 18 areas throughout Riau, will be relocated to the park. Priority are given to elephants living in 12 particular areas, including the Keritang district where there are some 22 elephants.

The relocation project started in late July this year. In the first operation, two of the captured elephants died during the journey. However, in the next operation in August, two elephants were successfully released in the park.

Amoi died on the way to the park in an operation conducted from Sept. 3 to Sept. 11 during which two other elephants were also captured.

Riza Marlon, an activist of Foksi, a Jakarta-based Forum for Conservation of Indonesian Wildlife, who took part in the operation, said he believed Amoi died from an overdose in the tranquilizer shot.

Riza, a biologist by training, said he learned from workers in charge of capturing the wild animals that three of seven captured elephants have died since the operations began. He suspects overdosage of tranquilizer the main cause.